Startupfest Speakers 2013
We’ve assembled an all-star group of speakers to deliver inspiring keynotes, exciting round-table discussions and motivational workshops! Be sure to check back regularly as we add to this awesome roster.
Ari Gesher is a senior engineer and Engineering Ambassador at Palantir Technologies.
An alumnus of the University of Illinois computer science department, Ari has worked in the software industry for the past fifteen years, including a stint as the lead engineer for the SourceForge.net open source software archive.
At Palantir Technologies, Ari has split his time between working as a backend engineer on Palantir’s analysis platform, thinking and writing about Palantir’s vision for human-driven information data systems, and moonlighting on Palantir’s Philanthropic engineering team.
Ari is in demand as a speaker on the topic of big data and the limits of automated decision making. In the past year, he’s spoken at Harvard Business School, multiple O’Reilly Strata Big Data Conferences, the Economist Future Technologies Summit, and PayPal’s TechXploration series.
Brad Feld (virtual)
Brad Feld (virtual)
Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures, a company that helped launch and operate software companies. Brad is also a co-founder of TechStars.
Brad currently serves on the board of directors of BigDoor, Cheezburger, Fitbit,FullContact, Gnip, MakerBot, MobileDay, Modular Robotics, Oblong, Orbotix,Rover.com, SafeInstance, SEOMoz, Standing Cloud, and Yesware for Foundry Group. Previously, Brad was an executive at AmeriData Technologies after it acquired Feld Technologies, a firm he founded in 1987 that specialized in custom software applications.
In addition to his investing efforts, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, co-chair of Startup Colorado, and on the board of Startup Weekend. Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes the widely read blogs Feld Thoughts, Startup Revolution, and Ask the VC.
Notable companies that Brad has invested in and/or sat on the boards of include Abuzz (acq. NYT), Anyday.com (acq. PALM), Critical Path (CPTH), Cyanea (acq. IBM), Dante Group (acq. WEBM), DataPower (acq. IBM), FeedBurner (acq. by GOOG), Feld Group (acq. by EDS), Gist (acq. RIM), Harmonix (acq. VIA), NetGenesis (IPO), ServiceMagic (acq. IACI), ServiceMetrics (acq. EXDS), and Zynga (ZNGA).
Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brad is also an avid art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed 23 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.
Danae Ringelmann co-founded Indiegogo to democratize fundraising. Passionate about helping artists and entrepreneurs embrace crowdfunding, Danae speaks often at conferences. Recent speaking engagements include SXSW, MAD Hong Kong, TEDx, Big Omaha and CeBit. Fast Company Magazine recently named Danae one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Technology.
Prior to Indiegogo, Danae was a Securities Analyst at Cowen & Co. where she covered entertainment companies including Pixar, Lionsgate, Disney, and Electronic Arts. Danae also focused on cable network, NFL, newspaper and hedge fund clientele while at JPMorgan’s Investment Bank and Private Bank. In the wake of 9/11, Danae co-produced a concert reading of Incident at Vichy, an Arthur Miller play addressing the politically charged topic of racial profiling.
Danae is a CFA charterholder and holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Danae graduated with a B.A. in Humanities from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar and varsity rower.
An entrepreneurial tour-de-force. Devon defined a new market category when she co-founded Blo Blow Dry Bar, a first of its kind franchise concept, born from her second year University project. Currently at 28 locations across North America and Asia, the business continues to grow; she and her co-founders have been celebrated for creating the edgy brand and culture Blo is most known for.
She was dubbed ‘The Business Mind’ as one of Canada’s Top 13 Bright Young Things in FLARE magazine, has been named ‘Hot 20 Under 30’ ‘Women of the Year’ by Chatelaine Magazine.
Platformed by her experience building Blo, she has since moved on to manifest more dreams, both her own and those of others. Devon is an active mentor and advisor; She is the Canadian Youth Business Foundation‘s (CYBF) youngest mentor. Her CYBF mentees The Juice Truck have taken-off, working with Canadian mega-brands like Lululemon and receiving hundreds of foody fist-pumps, including major love from the Food Network’s Eat Street. Devon is on the board for Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW). As Chair of the Marketing Committee she is focusing on brand and strategic initiatives to grow awareness of the rape crisis center as well as the cause geographically.
Devon’s commitment to this cause is personal. Among her adventures she was assaulted in two untimely, and entirely separate incidents at 18 and then again at 21, right after launching Blo, and went through the ensuing judicial process that eventually led to a guilty plea by both men.
It’s no wonder Canada’s National Post called her “an adventuress and big-picture-thinker [who]…doesn’t cut corners”.
She is candid about her experiences, finds humor in life’s curve balls, and digs honesty hard. Her desire to see a global culture shift in the way we respond to interpersonal trauma, and it’s effects, sparked the content for her first TEDx talk in 2012, and her project in the works. Watch this space.
Recognizing her for personal and professional story, PROFIT Magazine named Devon one of the ‘Top 30 Entrepreneurs in Canada’ for their 2012 Fab 30 list alongside the likes of Cirque’s Guy Laliberte and Joe ‘Fresh’ Mimran.
What we know for sure is, that feeling of success is all the sweeter when you have jumped magnanimous hurdles.
Dulcie Madden is CEO and a co-founder at Rest Devices, Inc. Prior to Rest, Dulcie worked in India for four years as a Program Officer with the Deshpande Foundation. There, she directed the Foundation’s health portfolio, developed and scaled programs to foster entrepreneurship and small business development, and led the India office’s operations and growth. Dulcie has a BS in Biology from Georgetown University, an MPH with a concentration in epidemiology from Boston University, and half an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Harley Finkelstein is an entrepreneur, lawyer, and the Chief Platform Officer (CPO) at Shopify. He started his first company when he was 17 and has been building startups ever since. Harley completed his law degree as well as his MBA at the University of Ottawa, where he co-founded the JD/MBA Student Society and the Canadian MBA Oath. Harley serves as a mentor and advisor to a number of accelerators of startup organizations, including FounderFuel, ExtremeStartups, InvestOttawa & CIPPIC.
Hugh has been hacking book culture and its relationship to the web for a about eight years now. He’s the founder of PressBooks, an online book publishing platform built on WordPress, and of LibriVox.org, the largest library of free, public domain audiobooks in the world, all read by volunteers. He’s the founder of the small commercial audiobook company, Iambik Audiobooks, and the co-editor, with Brian O’Leary, of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto – Essays from the bleeding edge of publishing (O’Reilly). Hugh has talked about the future of publishing around the world, and his work has appeared in various places in print, bits and audio, including: the New York Times, Forbes, the LA Times, BBC Radio, the New Yorker, CBC Radio, NPR, Techcrunch and Pando Daily.
Jen van der Meer
Jen van der Meer
Jen van der Meer is a strategist and investor whose role is to shape and structure emerging business models for scalability and growth. Jen is an Advisor to Luminary Labs, where she leads open innovation challenges in health and open data, and she sits on the planning committee for Health Datapalooza IV, the fourth annual national conference born from government efforts to liberate health data. She is an Adjunct Professor at SVA’s Products of Design, and NYU’s ITP School, where she runs the Venture Pitchfest. A former Wall Street Analyst and Economist, Previously Jen has held executive management roles at Organic and Frog Design, and Dachis Group, a social data consulting and software company, which acquired social data + community company Drillteam, where Jen was a partner. At Dachis Group, Jen served as EVP Managing Director, leading client service, strategy consulting, experience design and delivery. Jen has a BA from Trinity College, and an MBA from HEC in France.
John Poisson is a designer, strategist and four-time entrepreneur with 25 years experience as a leader in visual effects, consumer electronics, social media and e-commerce.
John held a range of design, marketing and leadership roles at Avid and Softimage in those companies’ earliest days, then left to found Icestorm Digital in Montreal, followed by the Emmy-nominated Meteor Studios, then the largest visual effects studio in Canada.
He later led mobile media design and R&D at Sony in Tokyo, and founded Tiny Pictures in 2005. There he launched Radar, a pioneering and award-winning mobile social media service. The company was acquired by Shutterfly in 2009, where he served as VP of Mobile and Social Media.
John is Founder and CEO of Wantful, a leading online retailer focused on reinventing the gift giving experience.
Marc Garneau has served his country his entire professional career, beginning with the Canadian Navy and then as an astronaut and President of the Canadian Space Agency, and now in political life.
Marc Garneau began his service to Canada as a Navy combat systems engineer on HMCS Algonquin from 1974 to 1976. He was promoted to Commander in 1982 while at Staff College and was transferred to Ottawa in 1983. In January 1986, he was promoted to Naval Captain and retired from the Navy in 1989.
Marc was one of six Canadian astronauts selected out of over four thousand candidates in December 1983. He was seconded to the Canadian Astronaut Program from the Department of National Defence in February 1984 to begin astronaut training. Marc made history by becoming the first Canadian Astronaut to fly in space as a payload specialist on Shuttle Mission 41-G, October 5-13, 1984. In 1989 Marc was named Deputy Director of the Canadian Astronaut Program, providing technical and program support in the preparation of experiments to fly during future Canadian missions. In February 2001, Marc Garneau was appointed Executive Vice President of the Canadian Space Agency. He was subsequently appointed President of the same Agency on November 22, 2001 before leaving in 2005 to pursue a career in politics.
In October 2008 Marc Garneau was elected as the Member of Parliament for Westmount—Ville-Marie and, in his first mandate, served as the Liberal critic for Industry, Science and Technology as well as the Leader’s representative for Québec. He was re-elected in Westmount—Ville-Marie in May 2011 and currently serves as House Leader for the Liberal Party in the House of Commons.
In August 2003, Marc was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour. He is also honoured with two high schools named after him, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto and École Secondaire Marc Garneau in Trenton, Ontario.
Marc Garneau a servi son pays durant toute sa carrière, en premier lieu dans la Marine canadienne, puis en tant qu’astronaute et Président de l’Agence spatiale canadienne et maintenant à titre de politicien.
Marc Garneau a commencé son service au Canada en tant qu’ingénieur de systèmes de combat dans la Marine sur le HMCS Algonquin entre 1974 et 1976. Il a été promu à titre de Commandant en 1982 lorsqu’il était au Staff Collège et fut transféré à Ottawa en 1983. En janvier 1986, il a été promu Capitaine jusqu’à sa retraite de la Marine en 1989.
Marc fut un des six astronautes canadiens sélectionnés sur plus de quatre mille candidats en décembre 1983. Il a été transféré au Programme d’astronaute canadien du département de la Défense nationale en février 1984 pour débuter le programme d’entraînement des astronautes. Marc a écrit une page d’histoire en devenant le premier astronaute canadien à aller dans l’espace, en octobre 1984, lors de la mission STS-41G durant laquelle il assume les fonctions de spécialiste de charges utiles du 5 au 13 octobre 1984. En 1989, Marc fut nommé Directeur adjoint du Programme des astronautes canadiens en 1989. Il assura un soutien technique lors de la préparation d’expériences à exécuter en vol au cours de missions canadiennes subséquentes.
En octobre 2008, Marc Garneau a été élu à la Chambre des Communes comme député pour la circonscription de Westmount-Ville-Marie et, lors de ce premier mandat, il fut le porte-parole libéral pour l’industrie, la science et la technologie et le représentant du chef libéral au Québec. Il a été réélu député de Westmount-Ville-Marie en mai 2011 et occupe actuellement le poste de Leader libéral à la chambre des communes.
Il a d’ailleurs été promu Compagnon de l’Ordre du Canada en août 2003, soit la plus haute distinction canadienne offerte à un civil. Il a également eu l’honneur de voir deux écoles secondaires porter son nom, soit le Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute à Toronto et l’École Secondaire Marc Garneau de Trenton en Ontario.
Vice President of Product Marketing & Cloud Evangelist
HP Cloud Services
For more than 20 years, Margaret has held leadership roles with start-ups and Fortune 500 technology companies, including Microsoft and Amazon.com. Throughout her career, Margaret has earned a strong reputation for building successful brands, products and teams. She is currently Vice President of Product Marketing & Cloud Evangelist for HP Cloud Services.
Prior to HP, Margaret held senior executive roles with two fast-growing cloud startups: Symform, a peer-to-peer cloud data storage provider, and Hubspan, a leading cloud B2B integration platform acquired by Liaison Technologies. Before these, she led product management for network security products at Microsoft and was a director of Amazon.com’s international division, building the company’s global presence and launching international eCommerce sites in countries such as France and Japan.
Margaret has worked and traveled extensively in Asia, Europe and North America. She was a foreign correspondent for BusinessWeek magazine, and spent ten years in the Greater China region, consulting with many IT companies and governmental agencies. She’s a frequent author and sought-after speaker on subjects such as cloud computing, Big Data, security, and the convergence of technology and business. She was recently selected as one of the Top Ten Women in Cloud Computing for 2013.
Margaret is an advisor to Cloud Connect and the Cloud Network of Women (CloudNOW) as well as to multiple early-stage companies and CEOs. She is also an active mentor for men and women in technology. Margaret holds a BA in Communication from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.
VP Social Products, ExactTarget
Margaret Francis is the Vice President of Social Products at ExactTarget (NYSE:ET), a SAAS company that builds interactive digital marketing applications. She is the former VP Product at Lithium Technologies/Scout Labs, a leading SCRM (social CRM) company focused on customer communities, game theory and social listening and analytics. Prior to co-founding Scout Labs, she was the Director of Strategy and Analytics at Razorfish, where she developed marketing and technology strategies for Fortune 500 companies. Her customers and clients include companies such as Netflix, Coca-Cola, Visa, United Airlines, Nike, Apple, Citibank and Disney. She is a frequent speaker on the topic of social media management and metrics and their integration into marketing strategy and program measurement. Margaret is a graduate of Yale University and SFAI.
Rahul Sood is General Manager of the Microsoft Startups group. His team operates startup accelerators and outreach in Seattle, China, India, Israel and Brazil, and they also run the Bing Fund, an angel investment fund based in Seattle.
Sood joined Microsoft in January of 2011. He created Bing Fund in February 2012. In March, 2013 Microsoft consolidated their global startup activities under Sood’s leadership.
A serial entrepreneur, Sood spent 18 years in multiple startups prior to joining Microsoft. He founded luxury and gaming computer manufacturer VoodooPC, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in September of 2006. Voodoo brought the ENVY product line to HP, contributing advanced technologies, such as commercial liquid cooling, and an increased focus on design.
Sood is a co-founder of BrightSquid Medical, a unique collaboration platform for medical professionals, which was subsequently acquired by NetworksMD. He co-founded BrightSquid Dental, which was spun out of the medical business in 2010. Sood also created BullsOnWallstreet, a trading and education platform for retail investors and traders, and he is an active angel investor in a number of small Canadian-based energy companies. He is active in the entrepreneurial community, helping and mentoring a variety of startups.
In his spare time Sood enjoys wake surfing & wake boarding, paddleboarding, cycling, racing cars, and spending time with his family. He is a native of Calgary, Alberta. You can find him on Twitter @rahulsood. You can read more about the Bing Fund at www.bingfund.com.
Renee DiResta is an investor at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), where she evaluates early-stage opportunities, researches emerging technology trends, and supports portfolio companies. Prior to OATV, she spent seven years as an emerging market equity derivatives trader at Jane Street Capital, a quantitative proprietary trading firm in New York. For fun, she plays with data sets, crafts, and is a swing dancer. She blogs at http://noupsi.de, and is @noupside on Twitter.
Susan Etlinger is an Industry Analyst with Altimeter Group where she focuses on social media analytics and strategy. For the past twenty years, she has worked at the intersection of people, processes and technology, in companies such as Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., and in the agency world, most recently at Horn Group.
Susan focuses on helping clients develop strategic, actionable plans that support their unique objectives and organizations through periods of rapid change. Her experience across the enterprise in information technology, marketing, customer service and retail enables her to assimilate the needs of multiple constituencies and apply them pragmatically to real-world business requirements.
Susan has a deep grounding in interactive marketing and social technologies. As a Senior Vice President at Horn Group, Susan pioneered the agency’s social strategy offering, advising start-ups to Fortune 500 companies on social media best practices and strategic plan development. She has launched dozens of companies and products, and counseled businesses through crises, liquidity events and large-scale organizational initiatives.
Susan is regularly interviewed and asked to speak on social strategy and best practices for business, and has been quoted in outlets including The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The San Francisco Chronicle, the BBC, the San Jose Mercury News and Fast Company.
Susan’s is a published translator and has a B.A in Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley.
Cofounder & CEO – GuideWire Group Silicon Valley entrepreneurship is fueled by hype cycles as much as by technical innovation or the quest for the “next big thing”. Today we’re approaching the peak of possibly the biggest – and most limiting – hype bubble in the past decade. The bubble is hyper inflated by common maxims that “while true at their core” are widely misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misused to misguide young businesses. Chris explores the five ‘True Lies’ Shaping Startups in the US Today and how you can take advantage of the situation to grow a better business.
Investor – 500startups.com Dave is a venture capitalist & founding partner at 500 Startups, an internet startup seed fund and incubator program in Mountain View, CA. He likes to hang out with entrepreneurs, and occasionally invest in startups foolish enough to let him. He has been an investor in over 250 companies including Mint.com, Twilio, Wildfire Interactive, SendGrid, TaskRabbit, SlideShare, Mashery, CreditKarma, KISSmetrics, and MakerBot, among others. Dave has been geeking out in Silicon Valley for over twenty years, and has worked with companies such as PayPal, Founders Fund, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twilio, Mint.com, Simply Hired, O’Reilly Media, Intel, & Microsoft. Years ago he used to do real work like coding or marketing or running conferences, but these days he mostly does useless stuff like sending lots of email, blogging, and hanging out on Facebook and Twitter.
April Dunford is the co-founder and Managing Director of RocketScope, an analyst firm focused on marketing best practices and strategy. Previously April has been a marketing executive at 5 startups (Janna Systems, DataMirror, InfoBright, Sitraka, and Watcom) where she focused on sustainable growth through 4 acquisitions. She has also held executive marketing positions at IBM, Siebel Systems and Nortel. April also authors the popular startup marketing blog RocketWatcher.
CEO & Founder – Osunatech If you’re trying to sell your company, then you have two products: what you sell, and the company itself. Knowing who your likely acquirers are means you can tailor the organization to potential buyers, just as you’d design a product for specific customers. In this session, we’ll look at how to adjust your tone, staff, geographic location, pricing, and every other aspect of your business to make yourself an easy target for buyers.
Alistair has been an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker for nearly 20 years, involved in web performance, big data, cloud computing, and entrepreneurship in that time. In 2001, he co-founded web performance startup Coradiant (acquired by BMC in 2011), and since that time has also launched Rednod, CloudOps, Bitcurrent, Year One Labs, the Bitnorth conference, the International Startup Festival and several other early-stage companies. Alistair is the chair of O’Reilly’s Strata conference, Cloud Connect, and Interop’s Enterprise Cloud Summit. Lean Analytics is his fourth book on data, networking, technology, and entrepreneurship. Alistair lives in Montreal, Canada and tries to mitigate chronic ADD by writing about far too many things at Solve For Interesting, and tweets @acroll.
Ben is a serial entrepreneur with 15+ years experience in web businesses. He started his first company in 1996 while completing university. In 2007 he co-founded Standout Jobs, a B2B software company in the recruitment space. The company raised $1.8M from venture and angel investors. In 2010 after exiting Standout Jobs, Ben co-founded startup accelerator Year One Labs, which informed much of his thinking for Lean Analytics.
Ben has been blogging since 2006. The “Instigator Blog” is recognized as one of the top blogs on startups and entrepreneurship. Ben is also an active mentor to numerous startups and accelerator programs. He regularly speaks at startup conferences and events, including the Michigan Lean Startup Conference, Internet Marketing Conference, etc. Ben is VP of Product at GoInstant, a startup developing co-browsing technology for shared web experiences that was acquired by Salesforce.com in 2012. He tweets @byosko.
Brant consults for and advises startups on Lean Startups and Customer Development. He runs the San Diego Tech Founders monthly meetup, curates the San Diego edition of the Startup Digest, and mentored at CONNECT for four years. He is the co-author of The Lean Entrepreneur and a sought-after speaker and consultant on entrepreneurship.
Brant has over 20 years experience in IT and a long track record of bringing high-tech products to market with companies such as Tumbleweed, Timestamp, WildPackets, Incode and InfoBright. A prolific writer, he’s published articles for Venture Beat and Business Insider, blogs at Market By Numbers and tweets @brantcooper.
Patrick is an entrepreneur, mentor and author. He has founded two startups, serves as CMO at Drumbi and co-wrote The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A Cheat Sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Patrick organizes the Los Angeles Lean Startup Meetup and Twiistup. Patrick holds a Master’s in Economics with an emphasis in finance and econometrics from UC Santa Barbara.
A frequent writer and speaker at events like SXSW and Lean Startup Machine, his writing on debunking the origin of Henry Ford’s “faster horses” has been featured on Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal blog and The Browser. Patrick tweets @pv and blogs vlaskovits.com. In addition to his consulting and thought leadership around The Lean Entrepreneur, Patrick advises early-stage companies including Drumbi (where he acts as CMO), Chromatik, and a variety of startups involved with 500 Startups and The Lean Startup Machine.
President at Twist Image Joel is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Marketing Association and a former Board Member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada. He has been involved with the content committee for both Shop.org and the Web Analytics Association, and is on the advisory council for many businesses and charitable
Brady is the Head of the PCH Accelerator and is on the lookout for the next great piece of hardware. He co-started and “shepherd” Ignite; he’s part of the team currently organizing Ignite SF. He’s a Venture Advisor to 500 Startups and spent some time on the Investment Staff at Khosla Ventures. Formerly he was at O’Reilly and worked on a number of things including: the radar blog, Web 2.0 Expo, Where 2.0, ETech, and Foo Camp.
Paul is the founder of Dashboard.io — a platform of private communities for small businesses. Until recently, he was a Partner at 500 Startups, a “super angel” fund headquartered in Mountain View, CA where he oversaw the investments 450+ companies across 25+ countries. He is currently serving as an Entrepreneur in Residence with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and DHS/USCIS. Prior to Dashboard.io and 500, Paul was the founder of a few of his own startups (two successful exits and a number of failures in between) and spent some time at PBworks, AOL and Symantec. He can be reached at twitter.com/paulsingh
Dario Meli is the Founder and CEO of Quietly, a network for sharing personal recommendations. Previous to Quietly Dario Co-Founded HootSuite, the leading social media dashboard; Invoke Media, a digital agency; and Invoke Labs, a digital product incubator. Recently he traveled around the world meeting with entrepreneurs, accelerators, influencers, and media. This experience solidified a unique perspective that is critical to success in today’s global marketplace. Dario loves advising and learning from other entrepreneurs all over the world. Ping him on Twitter: @quikness
Blake has overseen social strategy and measurement for brands like Levi’s and Samsung. He currently serves as Director of Social at Annalect, the data and technology platforms group of Omnicom. In a past life he served as managing editor of CrunchGear. He can be reached on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/blake
Michael is a technology entrepreneur, disruptor and investor with a hunger to chase big ideas and change the world. He is the founder of five venture backed start-ups including Splunk, the first Big Data company to IPO. As founding CEO, Michael built a diverse and insanely passionate team that quickly scaled a geeky idea into an iconic technology brand and one of the world’s fastest growing software companies with more than 4,000 customers in 75 countries including most of the Fortune 100. Splunk executed a game changing approach to marketing and selling enterprise technology with a low friction, high velocity business model fueling the company’s growth. With only $40M in funding, Splunk achieved one of the most successful technology company IPOs in the last decade with the company’s stock increasing 109% in the first day of trading. Michael is now a partner with Rembrandt Venture Partners working with the next generation of technology entrepreneurs to build great companies.
Mark MacLeod is one of Canada’s leading startup finance experts. Mark spent twelve years as CFO for a number of highly successful venture-backed startups including Shopify and Tungle.
He then spent three years as a General Partner at Real Ventures, Canada’s largest and most active seed venture fund, where he remains a Venture Partner. Mark now leads business and corporate development for FreshBooks, the #1 cloud accounting specialist.
Mark is a frequent blogger on funding, growing and exiting startups at http://startupcfo.ca
Ron Hirson is an entrepreneurial executive with over a decade of business and product management experience and is currently an EIR at Khosla Ventures and Mayfield Fund. Most recently, Ron was co-founder, President at BOKU, where his responsibilities included creating and managing the BOKU product/service, go-to-market plan, marketing, public relations, business development and corporate development.
BOKU has grown to 115 team members, live in 68 countries on 260 carriers, with offices in Europe, US and LatAm. Previously, he served as Vice President of Product Management at AT&T Interactive, and was responsible for the company’s new and existing advertising products and features that generated $1B in revenue annually.
Prior to the acquisition of Ingenio by AT&T, Ron served as Vice President of Product Management where he lead the product management team for Ingenio. He began his career as a management consultant with Price Waterhouse where he designed, implemented and customized software for clients such as: Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, and SAFECO.
During the “dotcom” days, he was CEO and co-founder of The Digs Network, Inc., which was acquired by iDrive.com.
Ron is an inventor on 26 issued patents and 140 filed patents.
As Development Community Advocate, Phil helps customers and partners integrate with the SoftLayer’s API. He also architects the company’s Drupal websites, writes API documentation, and maintains the developer blog. Formerly, Phil was a Sales Engineer that built internal tools and provided technical consultation for potential and existing customers. Phil started his career in webhosting at Ev1Servers where he led the training department. With a passion for technology that started at a young age, Phil has developed skills in a variety of scripting and programming languages and enjoys sharing his knowledge with the tech community.
Joe Chernov is the VP of Marketing for Kinvey, a mobile backend as a service start-up in Boston, MA. Joe joined Kinvey from Eloqua, where he served as VP of Content Marketing. The Content Marketing Institute named him “Content Marketer of the Year” in 2012. Joe speaks at universities and conferences around the world on content marketing and social media.
At Upverter, Zak has overseen product development and design from the beginning, including the design toolchain, collaborative community and on-demand simulators. Improving the rate of innovation in hardware engineering, including introducing collaboration and sharing, has been one of his central interests for almost a decade, stemming from his time as an engineering student working on telecommunication hardware.
Prior to Upverter, Zak founded an electronics manufacturing service, and served as the company’s CEO. Before that, Mr. Homuth founded ZHC, a provider of computer software and hardware services to local consumers as well as the agriculture industry.
He attended the University of Waterloo where he studied Computer Engineering before taking a leave of absence.
Julien Smith is the bestselling author of two books: the first, Trust Agents (with Chris Brogan) was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. His most recent, The Flinch, was published on the Domino Project with over 100,000 copies distributed. Despite being known best for his writing, Julien’s best communications skills lie in his public speaking. He has traveled all over the United States, Canada and the world to not only talk about adaptation to change, but also to incite it to actually happen. On the social web, his ability to get audiences out of their seats and actually change their behaviour is second-to-none.
Mike Rosenthal has overseen digital strategy and execution for the band OK Go since 2009. In January of 2010 he helped the band transition away from their major label and set up their own independent record label and production company, Paracadute. Mike runs Paracadute, overseeing album releases for the small but growing roster and managing the execution of OK Go’s diverse creative endeavors. Mike is also the co-founder and organizer of the Blip Festival, an international electronic music festival celebrating 8-bit music and visuals.
Ray currently leads mobile shopping efforts globally for Google, based in Canada. Prior to Google, Ray was founder & CEO of PushLife Inc, a commerce platform focused on dramatically improving the user experience for buying & consuming digital media on mobile. PushLife’s customers included large mobile operators like Bell Canada & Virgin Media UK before being acquired by Google in 2011. Ray started his career in the early days of mobile doing corporate strategy at BlackBerry where he led venture investments & strategic initiatives in a number of key areas for the company.
Ray is an advisor to the Conrad Center for Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology at the University of Waterloo, the Canadian Digital Media Network and Mantella Venture Partners. He is also an active angel investor.
Fred is a seed stage VC and helps build companies. Founders he partnered with include top 30 global website DailyMotion (video sharing) or leading online real estate site Zoopla, as well as Seatwave, Cinemagram, TheCurrencyCloud, Integral Ad Science (fka Adsafe), Kinvey, Lagoa, Plizy, psykosoft, Recorded Future, Secret Escapes or splitwise.
Active blogger, startup mentor, and angel investor.
Superpowers: Helping people derive simplicity from complexity
Dmitri Leonov is the head of growth at SaneBox, a cloud service that’s helping people all over the world hate their email less. Prior to catching the startup bug Dmitri spent 6 years at Overture (acquired by Yahoo) where, among other roles, he launched and led the Global Reseller Channel, growing it to $10M in annual revenue in 2 years. His writing has been featured in Mashable and VentureBeat, although he writes more frequently on Twitter at @dmitri.
Sundeep Peechu is a Partner at Felicis where he leads investments in mobile, enterprise and health. He currently serves as a director/observer on the boards of Alt12, Appurify, MindSnacks, Matterport and PlotWatt. Also serves as unofficial cheerleader for numerous others.
Prior to joining Felicis, he held various product roles at Intel where he led the development of a high-performance platform for extending interoperability across the hospital network. He also led the development of various XML products within the software division. Sundeep joined Intel in 2005 through the acquisition of Sarvega, where he was an early employee responsible for the design of the web services infrastructure. He also had brief stints at NEA where he focused on mobile and emerging markets and at Simbol Mining where he developed key initiatives around the production of battery materials.
Sundeep has a Bachelors in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, an M.S in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Katherine is the Co-Founder and CEO of ShopLocket. Prior to founding ShopLocket she worked as an independent digital media consultant and in a variety of marketing positions for Toronto-based startups. The idea of ShopLocket came to Katherine when she was faced with a seemingly simple problem, selling a few products online through her existing online channels. Not finding a good solution, she decided to create one instead. Today, Katherine heads up business development and day-to-day operations at ShopLocket and is very active in the Toronto startup community.
The good ol’ days Numeracy is a fundamental skill for thriving in an information society. But only a few years ago, tables of figures belonged to accountants and mainframes, not bake sales and community theatres. The personal computer spreadsheet changed all that, giving us a fundamental tool for working with numbers. Dan Bricklin built Visicalc, the killer app for the personal computer. In doing so, he changed forever how the world works with numbers.
When you do things that Matter Focusing on something important fundamentally changes the kind of organization you are. It instills a sense of purpose, and makes it easier to ride the daily ups and down of entrepreneurship—because you know you’re surfing the long waves. How do you know what a big bet looks like? And how do you resist the lure of the quick-flip, game-driven startup world? In this opening keynote, Guidewire Group founder and veteran observer of the startup world Chris Shipley looks at what it means to work on something that matters.
To Startup or Not to Startup, Geeks are the question A Midsummer Night’s Dream had Bottom. King Lear had the Fool. As You Like It had Touchstone. Shakespeare loved his jesters—they told the truth, made everyone feel a little awkward, swore a lot, and ultimately, saw the future. Tech startups have their own jester. He’s called Dave.Like the jesters, Dave’s a famous curmudgeon who doesn’t suffer fools. But beneath this crunchy exterior is a soft-candy inside made from a degree in engineering and math, years of coding and managing at startups like Paypal, and one-on-one involvement with more startups than he can keep track of.For the last few years, as the chief instigator at 500 Startups, Dave’s been travelling the world, putting geeks on planes to the far-flung corners of the planet. He knows that entrepreneurship is universal, In this session, Dave will take us on a tour of startup ecosystems around the world. He’ll open our eyes to the possibilities of the coming years and, in true jester fashion, warn us why the coolest thing we haven’t yet heard of may come from a place we can’t quite pronounce.
Sensing The Future: How Kinect-Inspired start-ups will change the world When Microsoft released the Kinect, people thought it was a great gaming innovation. But it was the company’s decision to open up the platform that led to a Cambrian Explosion of innovation. The Kinect has won awards around the world, and it’s being used in dozens of new, and often unexpected, ways. In this session, Sheridan Jones, Director of Business and Strategy for Kinect for Windows, looks at some of the products and businesses around the world that have picked up the torch Microsoft lit, and incorporated natural user interactions into how they work. We’ll see how these creations are changing lives in often surprising ways. And ultimately, we’ll see that the dirty little secret behind any innovation is that while innovators are catalysts, it’s the ecosystem of businesses, developers, and end users that are the reagents producing real, lasting change.
What Will Matter In The Future? We have to have some idea of the world we are headed for sowhat we do will matter. It makes no sense to build a better mousetrap unless there will still be mice to trap. In this session, Stowe Boyd will explore some deep trends to help today’s startup entrepreneurs head in a profitable direction, like these:* It is the business of the future to be dangerous * Whatever the Web touches, it consumes * Technology is everything that was invented after you were thirteen * The next frontier will be the ruins of the unsustainable * The central economic imperative of the new economy is to amplify relationships.
Getting bought makes you free The best thing about an exit is it’s an entrance. What would you do if you didn’t have to do anything? When Craig Walker sold Grand Central to Google, he thought long and hard about this, and he’s here to tell us what he decided.
Fashion:Tech: The New Wave of Online Retail In the past year there has been a surge of activity in social fashion and fashion. Retail and online fashion seemed to be stagnant since the first wave of startups led many brick and mortar stores to sell products online. But with the sudden appearance of Pinterest on the scene and the realization that fashion brands are getting more and more socially savvy, the attention has been on the rise of the Fashion:Tech startup. This panel will discuss how fashion brands are using and partnering with startups and revolutionizing retail in new ways as well as bring the VC perspective to Fashion:Tech as an investment.
Leaving Microsoft to Change the World In 1998, Microsoft exec John Wood took a vacation to Nepal that changed his life. He left his career to pursue what was then only a vague vision: to set up libraries in the developing world. Years later, Room to Read is a powerhouse non-profit that sets the standard for effectiveness and impact: It’s built over 12,500 libraries and 1,500 schools, and sent more than 13,500 girls to school through its Girls’ Education program. It’s distributed over 10 million books and changed the lives of 6 million children worldwide. In 2006, John wrote about his experiences in Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. Convinced that the world needs more “action-oriented optimists,” he’ll talk about changing his life and changing the planet.
How to Startup something that puts a dent in the universe Cindy Gallop, founder of IfWeRanTheWorld (changing the world through microactions) and MakeLoveNotPorn (changing the world through sex) provides some radically simple and highly subjective thoughts on why start up, what to start up, how to start up and becoming the next Steve Jobs. Bring hopes, dreams, doubts, fears, startup ideas and questions!
Surviving spaces Humans are fundamentally social creatures. Sharing is the most basic form of commerce, of affection, or support. And there’s increasing evidence from moral psychologists that sharing isn’t just nice: it’s essential for survival. We evolved to share, and as technology becomes a platform for interaction, we need to create shared spaces within it for ourselves to flourish.
Founder – StockTwits Howard Lindzon is co-founder and CEO of StockTwits a social network for traders and investors to share real-time ideas and information. StockTwits was recently named one of the top 10 most innovative companies in web by FastCompany and one of the 50 best websites by Time magazine. Howard created Wallstrip, and more than 400 original web video shows, which was purchased by CBS Corp. in 2007. He is an active angel with many success angel investments including: Rent.com, (purchased by Ebay in 2005 for $415 million), Golfnow.com (purchased by Comcast in June 2008), and Lifelock (lead investors include Bessemer Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers). Howard’s new media and internet business investments also include: Limos.com, Blogtalkradio.com, Buddy Media, Ticketfly, Assistly, Bit.ly and Tweetdeck.
Random Acts of Marketing are Killing Your Startup Marketing is a big term that covers lead generation, media relations, content marketing, social media, messaging, sales support and a huge heap of other things. Most startups have a puny budget and few (if any) dedicated marketing folks to get this stuff done. Yet many manage their marketing efforts more like a random to-do list than an integrated program. In this talk we’ll talk about the common pitfalls of disorganized startup marketing execution and outline a lightweight template for creating a marketing plan that makes that most of your limited marketing resources.
Getting luck on your side Serendipity is one of the biggest drivers of success—being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. But can you manufacture luck? Lane Becker has been putting serendipity to work for over ten years. He co-founding Adaptive Path, the first user experience design firm, and Get Satisfaction, an online customer service community platform used by over 65,000 companies. The co-author of Get Lucky, along with Getsatisfaction co-founder Thor Mueller, looks at getting lucky, with a mind-expanding romp that includes improv theater as a management technique, pop-up cocktail parties, behavioral neuroscience, modern network theory, and Buddhism.
Shareanddipity. Living in a world where access triumphs over ownership. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This is the basis of the mesh, an economy where connections and interactions trump ownership. Since the first commerial website—GNN— in 1993, Lisa Gansky has been connecting the world, building the mesh we know today as social networking, on tap mobile apps, and the world wide web. The future of society is sharing, and in this session Lisa walks us through our transition from stuff to experiences.
Code shmode, it’s people that matter: Tummeling for success At Jewish weddings, a Tummeler is hired to encourage everyone to dance. It’s no secret why communities flourish—they’re catalyzed to do so through a combination of engagement and collaboration. In this session Tummelvision founder and Geek Interpreter Deb Schultz, a founding partner, now senior fellow at San Francisco’s Altimeter Group, talks about innovation, communities, and the compelling economics of giving in order to receive.
Motivation trumps knowledge How do you go from nothing to millions in 1 year? Most think it’s know-how, Dan believes it’s motivation. During this talk Dan will share a personal story of one of the top entrepreneurs he’s ever met and how they went from near bankruptcy to millions in revenue in 12 months. The major lessons you will learn from your customers and applying Lean Startup techniques to a non-tech industry. You won’t want to miss this.
Be careful what you wish for Imagine you built a piece of software that everyone uses hundreds of times a day. It’s installed on every computer and mobile device. The entire Internet relies on it. It’s the cloud, thirty years ago. That’s what Paul Mockapetris did when he created DNS, the naming system on which the Web is built. Oh, and he also wrote the first SMTP implementation. That’s email. In this candid session, hear what it was like at the beginning, when a little piece of code could have a huge impact on the world.
Evolution or revolution: where’s the best place to start from? Are the best startup ideas those that come from years of experience in a particular field, making something with which you’re immensely familiar? Or should they come from left field, allowing you to bring a new, and often disruptive, perspective to bear on an industry that needs some shaking up? It’s a tough dilemma, forcing you to choose between the predictable familiarity of evolution and the bloodshed and transformation of revolution. In this session, Sendgrid’s Isaac Saldana will discuss getting from the fundamental idea to the earlysteps of execution, drawing on his experience launching and growing three very different startups.
Chasing Big Ideas In 2003, along with co-founders Erik Swan and Rob Das, Michael Baum set out to solve a big problem. The world was filling up with machine data, and humans needed ways to mine through it quickly. Nearly a decade later, Splunk’s IPO gave it a market cap of $3B. There’s no doubt today that Big Data is big money; but how do you see that coming years in advance? Even today, it’s a confusing term. Ask ten people what “Big Data” means and you’ll likely get ten different answers. Splunk’s founding CEO will talk about chasing big ideas, growing a multi-billion-dollar business and changing the world – all starting with a simple idea.
Do your customers give a crap? Entrepreneurs are great at lying to themselves. They can rationalize anything to preserve their most treasured beliefs, right up until the moment they hit the wall at a million miles an hour. There’s only one thing that really matters: do your customers care? If they do, they’ll help you grow and even act as a safety net when you make mistakes. If they don’t, you’re wasting everyone’s time and money. In this blunt, and perhaps uncomfortable, session, Jamie Siminoff shows how to know for sure if your customers give a crap.
Out of Site – Peace of Mind The Internet promised us a world without boundaries, where trade and ideas could flow seamlessly. But try and organize a distributed team, and you’ll soon find yourself herding cats. Outsourcing and hiring from afar sounds like a great idea, but more often than not, the only thing you outsource is your sleep. In this session, Gregarious Narain (Chute, Klout, Lil’grams) shows you how to hire remotely and make the team work. Find out how Gregarious turns “out of site” into “peace of mind”, with concrete examples from his experience at a variety of startups.
Changing Nations through Data Jon Gosier is the founder of metaLayer.com, a drag and drop data science platform that makes the world’s information easier to understand visualize and share. Prior to founding metaLayer, In 2009, Jon Gosier joined “Ushahidi” to lead the SwiftRiver initiative, an open source project which used machines and crowd sourcing to filter information during crisis events. Ushahidi is a website initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. It quickly became a platform for collecting and filtering information. In this session, Jon gives us an inside glimpse into how data platforms like metaLayer and Ushahidi are changing nations, and how this vision of human and machine collaboration is driving a new generation of tools to cope with today’s information flood.
Coefficients of friction It must have been amazing to live when the steam engine was invented. For millennia, human enterprise has tried to do one thing: overcome the friction of the physical world. From the first wheel and the earliest lever, to the structure of representative government and the design of broadcast TV, we’ve been fighting friction since we crawled out of the primordial ooze. That steam engine promised spare muscle, a beast of burden than never complained. Machinery would set us free. As it turned out, we were wrong. The answer wasn’t a better way to overcome friction—it was a move to the near-frictionless world of electrons. Today, every edifice we’ve erected to fight friction is crumbling in the face of a frictionless future. Join Alistair Croll for a wild romp through the economics of abundance, augmented humanity, home manufacturing, firing before aiming, coal supplies, education, and more, and see why there is simply no better time in human history to be a disruptor.
So this one time, I built a fax machine Being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference. The rise of the personal computer spelled the end of the fax machine—but not right away. From 1988 to 1995, Delrina’s WinFax dominated the PC fax industry, fundamentally changing the economics of an industry and created a Canadian software company that was sold for over $450m. Mark Skapinker gives us a look at what it’s like to stand astride two huge industries, the fax and the PC, and ride their convergence to fun and profit. Mark will also relate this to current opportunities.
Crowdfunding: is there safety in numbers? If you’re reading this, you’re probably someone who cares deeply about the movement of money. If you’re an entrepreneur, then you probably want that money to move from investors to you. And if you’re an investor, you want that money to grow significantly when (if!) it moves back to you.Well, the world has changed tremendously in the past three years. An investor is no longer just an accredited rich person or venture firm with a huge pool of money. With the advent of crowdfunding, your startup’s cash infusion can come from a large number of “tiny pools of money.” And with this trend, the expectations of investors and entrepreneurs alike have changed profoundly.The US government has added fuel to the crowdfunding fire with the SEC-blessed “Jumpstart Our Business Startups” (JOBS) act that passed in April. In this session, Randy Smerik—a serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and widely sought-after speaker on both sides of the investment table—offers a no-holds-barred look at the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of how crowdfunding really works.
The Enterprise is a Starship (not a target market) Here you are, you’re a young software company and all you’ve got is a phaser. Target the Enterprise? Good luck with that. Until you’ve got your photon torpedos, set your phaser to stun and go after the redshits, they’re easy targets. Bag enough redshits and you’ll get Kirk’s attention and find your way onto the starship. SaaS is eating the traditional enterprise sales model… use your phasers wisely and you can be a part of the Next Generation of significant software companies.
The Tungle Story The life of a startup is defined by little events that together make an unforgettable story – one that is not often known by outsiders. Come and live through some of these events that helped shape Tungle and made it memorable.
CTRL ALT DEL The world isn’t changing, it’s already changed. Dramatically. Technology is transforming what was once extraordinary into the ordinary. To survive, business has to reinvent not only itself, but the entire industry it serves. And you need a roadmap. It’s an iterative process that is not taking place year by year, but moment by moment. What are you going to do about it? This is your reboot.
Gaming M&A Today, the app economy seems obvious. It employs over half a million people, and buying small programs for a few pennies has upended the world of software development. Casual games are a big part of that revenue—but until recently, nobody took them seriously. Nobody, that is, until Farmville invaded our desktops and our lives.Farmville showed that casual games could work, at scale, across demographics that traditionally eschewed gaming. And riding that rollercoaster was Zao (Sizhao) Yang, who built Farmville and sold it to Zynga, and has since worked on M&A within the casual gaming giant. In this session, you’ll learn practical advice for how to get acquired, what acquirers are after, and why deals always take longer and are more complicated than you think they’ll be.
The age of entrepreneurial enlightenment Today’s early-stage companies are obsessed with data. They rely on analytics to understand every facet of their business, optimizing the way they acquire and engage customers, how they spread the word, and how they extract revenue. After all, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. But this obsession with data has a cost. What if you’re optimizing the wrong things? What if you’re already better than the rest of the industry in one dimension, but falling behind in another? How would you know? In this session, Bjoern Herrmann shares his research into thousands of startups. Working closely with entrepreneurial visionaries like Steve Blank, Bjoern and his team have collected and analyzed the key performance indicators of a broad range of startups, and codified this data into a system that understands what “normal” looks like.
Breakthrough Customer Feedback Understanding customer feedback and motivation is a powerful way to drive breakthrough ideas for improving product, customer acquisition, conversion and retention rates. This session will teach you to ask the right questions to generate insights for driving success in your startup.
The fastest growing tech company in Montreal – who knew? The best kept tech secret in Montreal is a company called Lightspeed. CEO, Dax Dasilva, will tell us how a relatively unknown tech company in Montreal got to where they are today – $30M of funding from Accel Partners announced this month and coined the fastest growing tech company in Quebec. The who and how they got to where they are, plus the reality of where they need to go now that they’ve received funding, will all be covered in this talk.
Evan Nisselson (MC)
Evan Nisselson (MC)
Entrepreneur, Investor LDV Capital, MC for our Event Evan Nisselson is a serial entrepreneur and digital media expert for over 17 years. He mentors at Seedcamp [Europe], 500Startups, Mind The Bridge [Italy], NYSeed [NY], and Tetuan Valley [Madrid]. He thrives on building teams and businesses that leverage technology to entertain, increase efficiency, and solve problems.
Julien Smith (MC)
Julien Smith (MC)
Author, professional voice actor, radio broadcaster, consultant, speaker and MC at our event Julien Smith is the bestselling author of two books: the first, Trust Agents (with Chris Brogan) was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. His most recent,The Flinch, was published on the Domino Project with over 100,000 copies distributed. Despite being known best for his writing, Julien’s best communications skills lie in his public speaking. He has traveled all over the United States, Canada and the world to not only talk about adaptation to change, but also to incite it to actually happen. On the social web, his ability to get audiences out of their seats and actually change their behaviour is second-to-none.
Founder and CEO of Wall Street Survivor Rory Olson is the Founder and CEO of Wall Street Survivor, among the largest, Interactive, financial education sites, online. Launched in 2007 and with over 420000 users, Wall Street Survivor is the CodeAcademy for Investing, using its real-time stock market simulator coupled with content, to educate beginner investors in a mentored handheld way. Prior to founding Wall Street Survivor, Rory was Founder and CEO of several highly regarded companies such as; Total.Net, Canada’s largest independent dial-up Internet Service Provider. He was COO of MPACT Immedia, a pioneer in the provision of of electronic commerce solutions (which eventually merged with Bell Canada’s business unit, Emergis, to form BCE Emergis where he assumed the role of EVP Business Development). Then became a partner and COO of Airborne Mobile, which sold to Cybrid a Japanese mobile entertainment company. He was also the Co-Founder and CEO of SureFire Commerce, one of the leading card-not present payment processing companies. Rory is passionate about technology startups, his family and friends, entrepreneurship, U2 and his dog Casey.
CEO and Co-founder ecomom Meet Jody Sherman. The founder of ecomom. Albeit a bit unusual for a man with no children to come up with the idea for a company dedicated to providing moms with easy access to the worldâ€™s best, healthiest products, it all started with a chance encounter of two moms at a local Whole Foods who were looking for healthier products for their families. It was upon meeting these moms that Jody was inspired and realized he could fuse two of his passion points; customer service and healthy living with his professional experience; a successful 20 year career in the digital space, to create ecomom.com.
CEO & Co-Founder Frank & Oak Ethan is the CEO & Co-founder of Frank & Oak – an online and vertically integrated retailer that simplifies shopping for men. With a unique background that is rooted in technology, design, and retail, Ethan brings a unique integrated vision to ECommerce. Originally from Tianjin, he has since lived and travelled around the world, with particularly remarkable stins in Shanghai, Paris, and Vancouver. He co-founded his first internet company at the age of 16 and has never lookede back.
Founder – Third Wave Fashion Liza Kindred is the founder of Third Wave Fashion, a company dedicated to helping fashion tech startups kick ass. Her previous businesses include a clothing boutique and an open source software company that built websites for The Grammys, Sony Music, and Martha Stewart. Liza is a strong advocate for open business practices, and has been consulting for business startups â€“ both on and offline â€“ for more than a decade. A past client nicknamed Liza â€oeThe Velvet Hammerâ€•, and the name stuck; sheâ€™s very good at managing multiple priorities. Liza is writing a book about the future of e-commerce. She lives in NYC and spends all of her time working with fashionistas and geeks.
President and CEO of AnswerNet He founded AnswerNet in 1998 and has driven the growth of the organization through sales, acquisitions and partnerships. Gary has won the prestigious â€oeErnst and Young Entrepreneur of the Yearâ€• award, the American Teleservices Associationâ€™s â€oeSpirit of Philanthropy Award,â€• and has led AnswerNet to numerous awards including gaining the #21 spot on Inc. Magazineâ€™s Inc. 500 List of Americaâ€™s Fastest Growing Private Companies in one of his five appearances on that list.
Venture Investor – OMERS Ventures In his role at OMERS Ventures, Damien Steel is responsible for contributing to the identification and execution of investment opportunities in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sectors. Damien works closely with investee management teams on all aspects of their business including finance, acquisitions, and overall growth strategies. Prior to joining OMERS Ventures, Damien was a Vice President with EdgeStone Capital Partnersâ€™ venture capital funds. Damien has over 10 years of experience working with growth companies. Damien has an H.B.B.A from Wilfrid Laurier University, is a CA and a CFA charter holder.
CEO & Co-Founder of Kohort Venture Partner at High Peaks Venture Partners Mark is the author of a blog (mpd.me) that addresses industry topics and offers guidance to entrepreneurs on how to raise venture capital. Mark is also an occasional contributor to a number of industry news services, including PE Hub, Mashable, OPENForum and Business Insider, Inc and he is frequently cited in the Wall Street Journal. Before joining DFJ Gotham, Mark was an active entrepreneur and advisor. He was the Founder and CEO Zotspot, an internet search destination, and an advisor to numerous startups. In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Mark consulted to Fortune 1000 and private equity clients on the strategic and financial attractiveness of acquisition targets at both Bain & Company and KPMG
Founding Partner – Real Ventures John is a Founding Partner at Real Ventures and is also the co-founder and Managing Partner of Montreal Start Up, two early stage VC funds. John co-founded a number of software, internet and media companies in New Zealand (Bulletin.net) , South Africa (Brightpoint SA / MTN PAYG), Malaysia (Aethos Asia Pacific) and Japan (Livedoor & Vogue Planet). John also founded Piermont Ventures, a Hong Kong based boutique investment and advisory business which advised entrepreneurs and invested in their startups. John is currently an investor and/or board member in fashion/tech related companies such as Beyond the Rack, Frank & Oak and Buyosphere.
Co-founder and Partner at Real Ventures JS Cournoyer is co-founder and General Partner with Real Ventures and Montreal Startups, Montreal-based venture capital funds investing in great entrepreneurs building world-class companies. He’s also co-founder of Founderfuel, a Montreal-based accelerator for web, mobile and software startups. JS is also an entrepreneur, having co-founded a number of companies over the years. He is the proud father of 5 wonderful children.
Advisor – Kauffman Foundation Paul Kedrosky advises the Kauffman Foundation as a senior fellow. In this capacity, he uses his experience as a technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist and academic to explore new programming opportunities for Kauffman in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, and capital markets. Most recently, Kedrosky has been an active early-stage investor, having funded more than fifty companies in Internet, mobile, life sciences and materials. Companies that he has funded have been sold to Demand Media, Twitter, Cisco, and many others. He is also a contributing editor at Bloomberg, one of the largest financial data and media organizations in the world. Kedrosky is a sought-after speaker and writer; a serial entrepreneur; and frequently quoted in major publications around the world. He has published more than 300 articles in academic and non-academic publications. Kedrosky obtained his undergraduate degree in engineering from Carleton University, his MBA from Queen’s University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario.
Starting your first company can be a daunting prospect. Processes like finding a co-founder, allocating equity and raising capital can be difficult for a first-time entrepreneur to navigate. While there are offline and online resources to aid founders along the way, other entrepreneurs can be the best source of startup knowledge. As we kick off the conference learn about the essential steps, frameworks and resources that can help a first-time entrepreneur flourish, from a serial entrepreneur who knows the dos and don’ts of startup life.
A vital part of any new venture is its human capital. Picking the right people for your start up company will not only determine its long term sustainibilty, but also its ability to attract funding and strategic clients\partners. The ability to spot talent and character traits appropriate to your business is a skill that translates into the difference between being a business owner, and a visionary. In this session, Mr. Patel will share some of his experience in how to select and attract the right talent to take your company from start up to mid size, and beyond.
Once you launch your MVP, the feedback starts rolling in. While listening to your customers is key, you have to know how. In this session, Ash Maurya will explain why simply listening to customer feedback or relying on metrics is NOT enough. He’ll outline a 10 step process for iterating your product to market fit.
Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of growth; the common mistake is trying to force growth prematurely. This is frustrating, expensive and unsustainable – killing many startups with otherwise strong potential. Hiten’s presentation will take you through the key steps needed to create a foundation that supports growth. With the right product, monetization model and efficient conversion process, it is much easier to achieve sustainable, scalable customer growth.
Some startup technology companies are hitting their stride and leaving former market makers in the dust. Why is this? Stephan will explore basic business fundamentals: Choosing target markets wisely. Cash flow management. Caring about revenues sooner rather than later. Protecting margins, reaching and maintaining profitability. These and others key factors will lead to shareholder value. The only true measure of success.
Generating business momentum by building and generating value from a world-class roster of advisors.
Everyone in the venture and startup world will tell entrepreneurs that the team is the most important determinant of success in a new enterprise. There is a reason for that – it is entirely true. What is often left out is that the team is only made up partially by employees of the company. By focusing not only on that team, but a complex and diverse web of advice givers, you can be the best version of yourself as an Entrepreneur CEO. As your business gains critical mass – few people in your daily life will give it to you straight. Setting up and investing in advice guarantees you will have an easier time finding your version of the truth as an entrepreneur.
In this session, hear Paul Palmieri, co-founder and CEO of Millennial Media discuss the details of creating and executing on an influence and advice plan. He will walk through how Millennial Media has supercharged their results by formalizing influence and extensively using an advisor network.
Open source, APIs, cloud computing, real time, outsourcing and Mechanical Turk have commoditized all of the essential barriers that once existed to building a start up and leading. Ideas are a dime a dozen and with entrepreneurship on the rise and methodologies like Agile and Lean, execution is less and less a competitive mechanism for rising above your competition. Learn some of the new rules and trends for building a start up that gets recognized. Understand what potential employees, investors and partners look for to determine if your start up is going to be the winner.
Getting your first few hundred active users is hard enough, but once you get there you need to be focused on growth. There are plenty of tactics and strategies startups can employ on the path from 100 to 1,000,000 users. Ryan will present some of the most successful methods he’s used over the years. You will walk away with a good set of tips and tricks for growing your business, all wrapped in with stories of success.
The founder of a new business needs to be of two minds. One mind has to be focused on the bare minimum, the essential core of the idea that can be tested and adapted. The other mind has to be dreaming big dreams, selling a vision of a world that can be. This session looks at ways to balance minimum product with maximum vision.
Come hear the story of how Jason boot strapped Super Rewards, the virtual currency platform that powered nearly all Facebook and mySpace social games, from zero to a 100 million dollar run rate to exit in 18 months. The major VCs were all lined up at the door and Jason made the controversial choice to just sell it all for less. Nostradamus? Or lacking in long term vision?
Where do founders come from, and what are the common threads linking their careers? Monica Rogati, who created LinkedIn’s job-to-candidate recommender system, is behind many of LinkedIn’s data stories: the most overused buzzwords, trending job titles, and first names that tend to succeed. For Startupfestival, she explores data drawn from over 100 million LinkedIn profiles and thousands of startups to ask questions about entrepreneurs and early employees: What is their background? Who are they connected to? Are they unusually mobile in their careers?
There is no recipe or magic bullets you can follow to build a successful, sustainable company. However along that journey, a number of key metrics, ratios, numbers and statistics will play a key role. Jeff Clavier, an active startup investor based in Silicon Valley who has funded over 100 companies, will walk us through these in this exclusive “Startups by Numbers” keynote.
On July 14, Andy Nulman will be drowning in the midst of the Just For Laughs festival, the world-renowned event he presides over. His schedule that day includes over a dozen shows, seven meetings, and who knows how many emergencies that even his wildest dreams cannot conjure up at the time of this writing. Despite that, he will be with us as a closing keynote, living the entrepreneur’s headspace and stress level in real-time. Join us for the usual unpredictability and inappropriateness.
Reddit.com is one of the biggest sites on the web, sharing links and content from every corner of the Internet. From early days in the first cohort of YCombinator to acquisition by Reddit, Jeremy has been a part of the growth of Reddit, and in this session he’ll share some of the lessons learned from building large-scale traffic on a shoestring, and engaging a diverse, vocal community.
How the hell does a kid from Calgary turn his Masters Thesis into a TED Talk and venture backed startup that eventually gets bought by Google? Anand breaks down some of the street fighting tactics that he learned along the way, like how to get crazy amounts of press, what led to the acquisition and how he raised lots of free money. Don’t knock the hustle.
Once you’ve made the world’s great product, what next? It’s time to tell the world! But wait, getting the word out is expensive. In this talk we’ll explore how to spend a dollar to make two, and answer the all-important question: “how much should I spend to get a customer?”
Your investors backed you because you knew how to run a company. But now that you have backers, you spend all your time managing them—and none of it managing the business. How should you manage your board and your VCs? When should you give in to their well-intentioned suggestions, and when should you shut them down? How much oversight is appropriate, and how much is meddling? In this session, entrepreneurs who’ve been there share their tips for managing your investors.
The lean startup methodology is great in theory, but how about in practice? In this session, you will learn about lean startup case studies. These are real-world examples of the lean startup methodology in action. Lessons learned, including what worked (and didn’t work) will be shown. From each case study, reusable best practices will be shown that you can use in the day-to-day operations of your company. This session is useful for any entrepreneur considering using the lean startup methodology in their startup.